Recycling and Waste - Frequently Asked Questions

This a list of our most frequently asked questions, if you find that your question isn't listed feel free to contact us on 01785 619402.

Blue Bin

Q. Can I put recycling inside carrier bags/bin bags?

A. Mixed recycling can be taken to the blue bin in a bag but will then need to be emptied and placed separately in the bin to prevent contamination.

Paper can be placed in carrier bags inside the caddy if it is being left outside the blue bin for recycling (see below).

Q. Will my caddy be emptied if it is on top of or beside the blue bin? 

Where possible the caddy should be kept inside the blue bin.  However, if you need more space in your blue bin for mixed recycling the paper caddy can be placed at the side of the blue bin for collection. 

If the caddy is placed at the side of the bin the contents must be put into carrier bags to stop the paper getting wet or blowing away.

Alternatively, any excess recycling can be taken to one of our Recycling and Waste Collection Sites.

Q. Why can I no longer put textiles in my blue bin?

A. We found that textiles have become contaminated with broken glass etc in the blue bin which means that they cannot be re-used.  Textiles can easily be recycled at charity shops, the Household Waste Recycling Centres or by using the charity bags we receive at home.

Q. Where does the recycling collected in Stafford Borough go to?

A. All recycling is collected from the kerbside by our contractor, Biffa Waste Services.  Paper recycling is transported directly to the UK paper mill for reprocessing.  The mixed materials are taken to Biffa local facilities for sorting and then sent on to UK reprocessors to be treated and prepared to be made into new products.

See further information on the End Destination of Recyclates.

You can now view a short film on line which shows what happens to the recycling in the blue bin once it has been collected by the vehicle.  Please take a few minutes to watch the film and we would be grateful if you could complete the short questionnaire afterwards.

Q. My blue bin is quite full already, what if I can’t fit any more items in?

A. Many of the recyclable items will flatten easily eg cardboard, waxed cartons, plastic bottles etc.  You can remove your paper caddy and place it beside your blue bin for collection (see above) to allow more room in the blue bin for mixed recycling.  Alternatively an additional blue bin can be supplied if you find that you still struggle to fit all the materials in one blue bin.

Q. Do labels and lids need to be taken off glass and plastic containers?

A. There is no need to remove labels.  Please remove all lids; they can be placed separately in the blue bin.  Leaving the lids on causes vacuums inside the containers that make them difficult to compact within the vehicle.

Q. Do items need to be cleaned out?

A. Please ensure all items are empty, rinsed and free from food waste.   When sorted these materials can be stored for a number of days before being reprocessed, rinsing them helps to reduce odours.

Blue Bin Rejection Stickers

Q. Why are you rejecting blue bins with unwanted items?

A. The Materials Recycling Facility code of practice has tightened up the criteria for contamination. If the blue bin contains the wrong items it will affect all of the contents of the collection vehicle and is likely that the whole load will be rejected.

Q. What do I do if my bin is rejected?

A. If you remove the unwanted items the bin will be emptied on your next scheduled blue bin collection day.

Q. What do I do if I have a full blue bin even after I have removed the unwanted items and cannot wait until the next scheduled collection day?

A. The caddy containing newspapers can be put at the side of your blue bin on collection day. If you put the caddy at the side of the bin the newspapers will need to be put into carrier bags which will not be returned to the property. If there is still not enough room in the bin you will have to make your own arrangements for taking the recyclable material to your local Household Waste and Recycling site either at St Albans Road, Stafford ST16 3DR or Beacon Road, Stone ST15 0NN.

Q. What do I do if I did not put the unwanted items in the blue bin?

A. Unfortunately, you are responsible for the contents of the blue bin until it is collected. If possible try and present your bin on the morning of collection instead of the night before. A common contamination complaint is that people passing  are placing items in the bin.

Q. What if I do not remove the unwanted items?

A. The bin will only be collected when the items have been removed.

Q. Why can’t the bin men remove the unwanted items?

A. Due to the method of collection the operatives do not hand sort the items within the blue bin.

Q. I have not got enough room in my green bin so I’ve been putting rubbish in the blue bin. What can I do?

You may be putting items that should be recycled in your green bin rather than your blue bin. Please refer to our list of recyclable items. If not, we are able to provide a larger green bin to those properties that have five or more permanent residents.  If you have too much waste for the green bin after recycling all acceptable items  the surplus can be taken to the household waste recycling site on St Albans Road, Stafford ST16 3DR or Beacon Road, Stone ST15 0NN. Extra side rubbish from the side of the green bin will not be collected. 

Green Bin

Q. Why are smaller green bins being introduced?

A.  Following a recent sample 240 litre bin survey it was found the majority of bins were less than 75% full.  Additionally there were still items in these bins that could have been recycled in the blue bin.  By issuing a smaller bin it is hoped that this will make the residents more aware of what they are disposing of and whether items can be recycled. 

Q· Are all green bins being replaced?

A.  No, only when a resident contacts us to report a missing or damaged bin.  The resident will be given the option to have a free smaller 180 litre bin or to pay a one off charge of £40 to have a 240 litre bin. 

Q· Why should I pay for a bin if it is not my fault it has been damaged or gone missing? 

A.   You will be getting a replacement bin for free (180 litre) that is considered of adequate capacity. 

Q·  What if I ‘try’ a smaller bin and find that there is not enough room in the bin? 

A.  Please contact us if you are struggling with the capacity and we can arrange a site visit with one of our Waste & Recycling Team to assess and discuss other options available (eg) additional recycling bins etc. 

Q· Why is it a one off charge for a 240 litre green bin but an annual charge for a brown bin? 

A.  The garden waste service is different in that it is not a statutory service but is one that the Council has opted to provide one brown bin per household for, therefore additional bins are provided at a charge to cover the cost of the bin and collection. 

Q· Will the larger family sized bin become the 240 litre bin rather than the current 360 litre bin? 

No, for the time being the family sized bin will stay as a 360 litre bin as the reduction in capacity (120 litres from a 360 to a 240) would cause immediate issues.  A mid-range sized bin may be considered in the future to bring it more into line with the new ‘standard’ sized bin. 

Q· Why is it free for a large family to have a 360 litre bin? 

A.   It currently remains Council policy for a family of five or more permanent residents to be issued with a free 360 litre bin to replace their 240 litre bin. 

Q.  Are you providing smaller blue or brown bins? 

A.  Smaller blue and brown bins can be provided if there are access issues etc but there are no plans to reduce the current 240 litre bins. 

Brown Bin

Q. Can I dispose of food waste in the Brown Bin?

A. Food waste cannot currently be composted in our brown bins.  The contents of our brown bins are currently taken to an ‘open windrow’ facility which is not suitable for raw or cooked food waste.

Food waste can be composted in a home compost bin, details of a scheme we support can be found on our Recycling and Waste Composters page.

Q. Can I purchase the compost from the Brown Bins?

A. Compost produced from gardens in Staffordshire and the West Midlands can be purchased from either:

Johnson Hall Nurseries
Newport Road,
ST21 6JA

Hollybush Garden Centre (just off J11, M6 on A462)
Warstone Road,
Nr Wolverhampton,
WV10 7LX

Occasionally compost can also be bought from the Household Waste Recycling Sites run by Staffordshire County Council on Bank Holiday weekends, please call 0300 111 8000 in advance to check availability. 

All Bins

Q. If a householder puts recyclable waste into the green bin by mistake will Biffa staff refuse to empty the bin??

A.  No, the recycling services that Stafford Borough Council provide are not compulsory and a green bin will be emptied if it contains recyclable material.  However, we would ask that all householders consider using all of the bins available to them to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill or incineration.

Q. What is the best way to wrap up food waste when the household bin is taken on alternate weeks?

A. Food waste can be contained in tied carrier bags and/or newspaper to prevent odours; bin bags can also continue to be used in the green bin.  Where possible, keep the green bin lid closed when not in use.

Q. Can I receive an assisted collection but keep my green wheeled bin instead of swapping to a black bin?

A. It is no longer a requirement to swap the green wheeled bin for a black dustbin when receiving an assisted collection.  All three bins (green, blue & brown) will be collected from your premises, emptied and returned.  However, black bins are still available should they be required.

Q. Is there a collection service available for incontinence products?

A. Previously we have provided a ‘yellow sack’ service for incontinence products and they were disposed of as clinical waste.  However, this waste is not clinical waste and should be disposed of in the general waste stream.  Should this cause capacity issues in the bin please let us know and we can issue either a larger or additional green bin as appropriate.

Q. How can I dispose of old medicines?

A. Old medicines can be disposed of in the green bin; however it is recommended that old medicines are taken to a pharmacy who will be able to arrange for their safe destruction.

Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE)?

More information can be found at Frequently Asked Questions on this newly introduced scheme.

Tel: 01785 619402
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